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M.E. Bradford and the Barbarism of Reflection

        "The hours of a wise man are lengthened by his ideas."—Joseph Addison

This is the first critical study of M.E. Bradford, whose untimely death in 1993 silenced the most eloquent voice ever raised on behalf of the permanent things as they are revealed in the Southern tradition. It would be a mistake, however, to think of Bradford as an academic specialist in things Southern or as a Southern ideologue crediting the South with impossible virtues at the expense of its real ones, hi fact, behind Bradford's scholarship on the South was the question, "What does it mean to be an American?" This question had to be raised because the American tradition which we have inherited contains a broken memory. Rooted in state and local sovereignty, the original federated republic was designed to protect corporate liberty: ways of life that bind the generations, not the radical autonomy of individuals. Ultimately, this federation was subverted by the concentration of power necessary to coerce the Southern states back into the Union and to destroy their social and political order. On the ruins of the old republic, a new public rhetoric was developed—by Lincoln especially—legitimating a unitary state and the universalist and egalitarian ideology, in the French style, that lay behind it. Intent upon disguising this revolutionary character, purveyors of the new rhetoric...

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